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Why Did Beyoncé Decide To Include An Audio Sample From The Challenger Shuttle’s 1986 Explosion On Her Single, “XO”?

Submitted by on December 30, 2013 – 1:59 pmOne Comment

Back in 1986, a space shuttle called the Challenger exploded just 73 seconds after it took off from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. All seven people who were on board the Challenger that day died. And the tragedy is still one of the worst events to ever take place in NASA history.

So when Beyoncé released her new single, “XO,” recently, there were a lot of people out there who were surprised to hear audio fro the Challenger disaster used at the beginning of the song. “Flight controllers here looking very carefully at the situation,” former NASA public affairs officer Steve Nesbitt says in the sample, which was swiped from a live TV broadcast that showed the Challenger exploding and then crashing down into the ocean. “Obviously a major malfunction.”

Specifically, there were a lot of people who work for and with NASA who were outraged that Beyoncé would allow such a sample to be on her first single from her new album, Beyoncé. And they called her out for it.

“We were disappointed to learn that an audio clip from the day we lost our heroic Challenger crew was used in the song, ‘XO,’” June Scobee Rodgers, the widow of Challenger commander Dick Scobee said. “The moment included in this song is an emotionally difficult one for the Challenger families, colleagues, and friends.”

So why did Beyoncé choose to use the sample in her song? Well, from the sound of things, it was the writers and producers of the song, not her, who chose to incorporate it into the mix. But she’s not distancing herself from the controversy. Rather, she’s using it as an opportunity to explain why she thought using the sample would be a good idea.

“My heart goes out to the families of those lost in the Challenger disaster,” she said in a statement that was given to ABC News today. “The song ‘XO’ was recorded with the sincerest intention to help heal those who have lost loved ones and to remind us that unexpected things happen, so love and appreciate every minute that you have with those who mean the most to you.”

After hearing Beyoncé’s explanation, we’re OK with her using the sample. Initially, we thought it was a cheap and gimmicky way to get some extra attention. But the truth is that a lot of young people who listen to Beyoncé today probably have no idea what happened with the Challenger back in 1986. So Beyoncé using it in a song and giving a nod to it will bring some awareness to what happened and force people to look into it more. Additionally, it’ll help those who do remember the Challenger to think about it in a new way. There were lives lost as a result of the Challenger explosion and families that were altered forever. And it’s important to remember those lives and what happened to those families on that day.

Do you think it was right for Beyoncé to use the sample at the beginning of “XO”? Sound off in the comments section below.

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